Publishing has never been more important to the world than now. Although only recently becoming recognised, it isn’t that much of a stretch of the imagination to conceive of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Quora as publishing companies. How the published works are distributed – mostly electronically nowadays – has changed but any piece of information needs a medium to get to end readers and that medium is publishing. We are obviously stretching the definition of publishing but that is always the way when innovation takes over existing domains.
The biggest challenge facing publishers – and I know this at first hand and haven’t solved it but have many almost successful adventures – is marketing and in the digital age what marketing means is much the same as it has always meant: getting noticed. Publishing has never been easier and the corollary of that is that much more is being published so getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult. We are also dealing with millennials who have published their opinions since they could use their thumbs on a virtual keyboard and all of them are used to expressing their opinions and publishing those opinions in a way that is quite exclusive. They may not see what they are doing as publishing, they don’t necessarily expect anyone else to read or pick up their opinions and they have less time to read or deal with what other people publish – so what is published and published successfully is competing in a very noisy environment where individual voices are almost impossible to pick out.
Electronic publishing is therefore highly efficient, and highly difficult to break into – how do you challenge the current signal to noise ratio to ensure that your message is not only published but actually received? The answer is to create, as with any marketing, what is commonly known as a USP – a unique selling proposition – or, as I would like to call it a Unique Buying Proposition (UBP). In a world where celebrity is very often the key – and the nature of the celebrity isn’t as important as the fact of celebrity – we have been swimming upstream rather. Our UBP at Bite-Sized Books is the fact that we have pared down the books to what is essential and by making them around an hour’s reading made them accessible to a much wider audience. Making that brand value stand out has been challenging – but we are doing it now and starting to see real recognition of what our books can do for very busy people.
Electronic publishing is flourishing – but probably not making much money – printing on demand has also started – it is possible to order one of our paperbacks and have it delivered within 48 hours. We don’t hold stock. We don’t use bookshops, we don’t have huge distribution costs. Risk is much reduced – as we don’t have print runs or stock.
Once again, however, as it is dead easy to publish, it comes down to marketing. I hope you enjoy watching our journey – and it won’t surprise you that our next books are in a series devoted to . . yes, you guessed it, digital marketing.